The Bushmen

“I know how to take care of the game. That’s why I was born with it, and lived with it, and it’s still there. If you go to my area, you’ll find animals, which shows that I know how to take care of them.”

The Bushmen are the indigenous peoples of southern Africa. Largely hunter-gatherers, their territory spans several nations and they have called the region home for tens of thousands of years.

The tribes are well-known for the profound connection they have with their land, for their intimate knowledge of the natural world, and the delicate balance they have maintained for millennia with the environment.

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For 30 years, Survival has worked to defend the rights of the Bushmen tribes of Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve, in particular. They are one of the world’s most self-sufficient and sustainable societies, and some of the last remaining Bushman communities to rely on hunting and gathering to survive.

Map of the Bushmen's land, Botswana

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve was created in 1961 as a “place of sanctuary” for the Bushmen. But since diamonds were discovered in the reserve, Botswana has done everything possible to expel the tribes from their territory.

With support from Survival, the tribes won an unprecedented legal battle to return to their land, but now the government is using hunger as a weapon to ensure it gets its way. Its latest cruel manoeuvre comes in the form of an unconstitutional hunting ban: The Bushmen are accused of “poaching” because they hunt their food. And they face arrest, beatings and torture, for hunting to feed their families.

Conservation is the excuse given, but government officials have admitted that the Bushmen do not hunt with guns and there is no evidence that their hunting is unsustainable.

As hunter-gatherers, this is catastrophic for the tribes, who are effectively being starved off their land. Many have been forced to return to the government eviction camps that became known as “places of death.”

What future do the Bushmen have?

Through evictions, violence, and government’s persistent assault on their rights the Bushmen of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve have remained strong. So deep run their roots, so powerful is their connection to their ancestral homelands that they doggedly refuse to give up on their struggle to remain in the reserve.

Survival is fighting alongside the Bushmen. In partnership with these extraordinary communities, we have already won many battles.

But there is more to be done. And this is where you come in…

Please take action and join the movement that will prevent the annihilation of the Bushmen and ensure their future.

Act now to help the Bushmen

Your support is vital if the Bushmen are to survive. There are many ways you can help.